As at time of year rolls around again, Ailbhe Keenan examines the lasting impact of an Oscars gown.
IT is without a doubt the most important night in the film industry. The awards received at the Oscars change not only nominee careers, but also their lives. Tens of thousands of people tune in around the world in different time zones to watch this celebrity filled ceremony for the inside look at some good old fashioned Hollywood. However, one of the most important aspects is not just who won, but what they wore.
Beginning in 1929 and hosted at the Roosevelt Hotel, the awards have since transformed in size and prestige. Gowns have gone down in history as they glide down the 16,800 square foot red carpet showcasing designs only to be described as breath-taking. Who could possibly forget Halle Berry’s Elie Saab sheer top appliqué gown from the 2002 awards with the taffeta maroon skirt that had everyone talking? Or indeed the year Julia Roberts won her award in 2001 wearing Valentino; a black a line dress with a white central stripe that looked effortless and chic. Hilary Swank was the epitome of elegance and grace in 2005 when she wore a navy Guy Laroche gown.
We may not remember the movie but we will still remember the dress years after. What is it that makes one dress seem to be so grand, so magnificent that stands the test of time? The platform the Oscars holds for designers to showcase their masterpieces is the only one of its kind in the film industry. Even if you pay no attention to the night at all, the photos hit the web instantly and plaster the cover of magazines for months to follow.
Celebrities endorsing the designers they chose to wear can launch an unknown name into stardom overnight. The trends seen in the high street stem from those shown on the red carpet and influence make-up brands, jewellery designers and clothing designers to take a new unexpected route when planning their clients looks. Instant social media posts arrive online from the photographers to cause a stir in the outside world of instant hits and misses; consumers needing, almost dying to get “that look” (without the million dollar price tag.) Having a celeb hit the red carpet with your dress or jewellery can not only shine the spotlight on the designer, but also massively increase sales profits, collection exclusivity and consumer demand for more.
The attention that follows having the gown on the cover of a magazine under the sought after “Best Dressed” title can follow months of press and attention on the celebrity in question. This can give celebrities the opportunity to really showcase their style and make bold choices with their fashions, earning them the top spot on Fashion Week covet-able seats along the Front Row, where they watch the next year’s inspirations blossom and take hold. Having the Oscars at the beginning of the launch of Spring Summer collections means the colours and fabrics seen on the red carpet are lighter, more feminine for those who choose to avoid making a statement – think Lady Gaga and her hip pads circa 2016 Golden Globes moment in an off the shoulder black Atelier Versace gown.
This year’s ceremony welcomed a whole new class into the Oscar gown hall of fame. Emma Stone, twinning with her golden Oscar statuette in Givenchy, made history as the first Best Actress winner to wear the designer since Audrey Hepburn in 1954 – proving that sometimes the records broken on the red carpet are just as important as those broken at the ceremony.